Ari Shapiro

Lawrence Osborne has lived in half a dozen countries all over the world. He's set his previous books in Morocco, Cambodia and France.

His latest novel, Beautiful Animals, is a sun-drenched summer novel with a shadow of death hanging over it. It follows a young, wealthy woman named Naomi, vacationing on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra.

"I haven't written about Europe for a very long time. ..." Osborne says. "It's a sort of a homecoming for me, in a way. These landscapes I know from my childhood. ... Memories came up from deeper places, which I hadn't expected."

In American cities, the murder rate has kept rising over the last couple of years. One of the most violent cities in the U.S. is Baltimore.

That's where 22-year-old photographer Amy Berbert lives. She's been documenting every murder that took place in Baltimore in 2016. The city has more than twice as many homicides per capita as Chicago.

When senators come back to Washington on Monday, a handful of Republicans will help decide the fate of legislation that could reshape health care in America.

One of them is Nevada Republican Dean Heller.

Sen. Heller is one of a small bunch of Republicans who have said they will not support the latest draft proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Republican leadership can only lose the support of two of its own senators and still pass such a bill.

If you crack open a beer this Fourth of July, history might not be the first thing on your mind. But for Theresa McCulla, the first brewing historian at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, the story of beer is the story of America.

"If you want to talk about the history of immigration in America, or urbanization or the expansion of transportation networks, really any subject that you want to explore, you can talk about it through beer," McCulla says.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Drive east from Washington and eventually you run smack into the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, the massive estuary that stretches from the mouth of the Susquehanna River at Maryland's northern tip and empties into the Atlantic 200 miles away near Norfolk, Va.

The Chesapeake is home to oysters, clams, and famous Maryland blue crab.

It's the largest estuary in the United States.

In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Titus Andromedon is a show-stealing character. Tituss Burgess plays the mostly out-of-work actor who's black, gay and an endearing friend to the very naive Kimmy Schmidt.

In books and movies, a monster is often more than just a monster. Maybe it represents anxiety, or corruption, or the id — all of which are themes that slither under the surface of Sarah Perry's new book, The Essex Serpent. Set in England at the end of the 19th century, "it's about the return of a mythical beast that's menacing the local villages," Perry tells me.

In the fall of 1974, George Foreman and Muhammad Ali met in the country of Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo, for the legendary boxing match known as "The Rumble in the Jungle." Although the Rumble had to be postponed until later that autumn, a related promotional event went on as scheduled and turned out to be similarly momentous: Zaire 74, a music festival where some of America's greatest black artists played alongside Africa's leading talent to an audience of tens of thousands.

alt-J has risen to music stardom while playfully disregarding many rules of popular music. Over its past two albums, An Awesome Wave and This is All Yours, the British trio has displayed a taste for the unpredictable and unconventional. And now, the forthcoming album Relaxer features two different songs that include counting in Japanese, a cover of a classic folk song with a veritable orchestra of classical guitarists and hardly any tracks under five minutes in length.

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